A couple of months after concerns arose about their future, there's a buzz in the air and a big crowd expected for the Northern Jets' first home game of the season.
After last week's upset win at The Rock, the club will unveil man mountain Dave Hand against East Wagga-Kooringal and Len Haddrill will play his first game at Ariah Park in five years.
"Last week was fun but it will be pretty exciting to get back to where I played all my junior footy, and play with my brother and all the locals," Haddrill said.
"With everything that was going on, the club struggling for numbers and my brother coaching, I thought I'd help out... Considering two months ago it wasn't looking like there'd be any football in the town, there was a really good feeling on the weekend. It was quite exciting (to beat The Rock-Yerong Creek).
"It's only early, we're one game in and there's a long way to go, but it's created a positive buzz."
Haddrill expects the game against EWK will give the Jets a good guide to their prospects. The pre-season boom on the Hawks was only enhanced when they put 160 points on Coleambally last week with Chris Ladhams and Nick Hull combining for 16 goals between them.
The Jets assistant coach said it will be a test for their young, raw backline.
But the home side hopes to create just as much talk about the forward pairing at the other end of the ground.
With ruckman Matt Carroll superb for the Jets last week, they have named new big man Hand at full-forward, providing another target alongside Matt Wallis.
"He's a big unit. He'll be quite intimidating for whoever lines up on him. He's pretty massive," Haddrill said. "He'll give us a bit of presence and if him and Matt Wallis line up deep forward then that's two pretty good defenders that have to go to them."
For a club whose pre-season preparation was limited to an intra-club trial, the Jets started superbly against the Magpies with a 6.6 opening quarter, on the back of a quick game plan they're keen to stick to.
"Hopefully we can keep improving on that and I think we can be a bit better than people expected us to be," Haddrill said. "I think there's still a lot of question marks about us though, even for myself. I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the group.
"But I think the way everyone played last week, we seemed to gel quite quickly. It showed promising signs that we can play some good footy. If we can string four quarters together like we played in the first quarter, I think we could scare the teams like North Wagga and East Wagga that people expect will be the top sides."
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